Courtesy photo/Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig
DAYTONA BEACH -- NASCAR officials announced Saturday at the Talladega International Speedway that the repaving of Daytona International Speedway will be moved up to July 4, right after the running of the Coke Zero 400, and almost a year ahead of schedule.
"We just can't risk it," said Robin Braig, president of Daytona International Speedway. "It's the Daytona 500. We owe it to NASCAR and our TV partners. We can't risk it again. There was only one window to do it, immediately following the Coke Zero 400. We probably couldn't have done it before July."
NASCAR was embarrassed by the break-up of concrete on the track during February's 52nd annual running of the Daytona 500 that was held up because of necessary patchwork.
A large pothole caused delays during the race won won by Jaime McMurray.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was at DIS's press conference on Saturday morning, said he supported the Daytona track repaving.
"Yeah, I think it's a good choice to put a new surface down," Earnhardt said. "The old surface was a lot of fun but we've had some, it's kind of getting past its prime, I think. The sooner we have the new surface, the quicker we get to the track everyone wants."
This will be only the second repaving of the 2.5-mile trioval that opened in 1959, the last being in 1978. The repaving is expected to cost $20 million and be completed by January.